Bridle Trails 50K – My first DNF

Bridle Trails 50K

My first DNF… and the lessons learned

This was my second attempt at an official ultra distance event. I finished the Mt. Hood 50M last July so I figured a 50K this time of the year, in prep for my next 50 Mile in April would be good training.

For those who don’t know, it rains a lot in Seattle (;-) and on the 28th consecutive day of rain, the Bridle Trails 50K was held (yesterday 1/14). It starts at 3PM and consists of 6 loops on a 5 mile hilly trail through the woods east of Seattle (in Kirkland). The trails are usually for equestrian use so the race starts later to avoid conflicts. Of course, this means running in the dark, which would normally be a welcome experience. However, the rain/sleet, cold, mud up to yer shins for 75% of the trail and visibility of next to nothing once it was dark made running safely nearly impossible. Hypothermia got me after just 25K and I dropped…the first time I’ve ever quit in a race.

Things I learned:

1) No matter what the temperature has been lately, bring clothing to prepare for a 10-20 degree variation. I’m usually comfortable in technical shirts in layers (even in rain) down to about 40 degrees. It was 35 by the time I dropped and nearly everyone I saw was too cold, including myself. Just before the race I had unpacked extra dry things assuming I wouldn’t need them since it had been 45-50 at every night for a week. Last night it was 35 when I drove home.

2) Remove your rings before the race. I had a spectacular face plant in the dark right into a huge mud puddle. My only real injury was a seriously jammed finger which started to swell immediately. Of course, it was the only finger with a ring on it. The ring cutting procedure was free (I have connections) but the jeweler will charge me upwards of $100 to repair the damage to my wedding ring.

3) Dry wool socks make excellent gloves when your real gloves are missing, muddy or too wet to dry out.

4) Dry wool socks become useless after submerged in mud if you need to clear mud from your eyes and mouth. Muddy sleeves don’t work well, either. Maybe an extra hankie of sorts would be good to tuck into a ziplock bag and keep in a pocket.

5) Always bring extra dry clothes to change into during the race and especially after. And a towel will save your car seats from lots of damage, too.

4) Bring a thermos of something hot to drink on the ride home.

My next 50K is in February where I hope to remember my lessons learned.


Kate “here’s mud in yer eye”